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HEYYYEEE… — Led by Artesia High School art teacher John Gunderson, front, these able impersonators, all students at AHS, do their best impressions of Arthur Fonzarelli as their contribution to “Fifties Day” at the school. Gunderson, who was a teenager in the 1950s himself, said he did not have to prepare anything, since he had saved all of his old clothes. AHS has never seen so many Hilda Highschools and Fonzies before. (Daily Press 1978 File Photo)

Looking back 40, 30 and 20 years ago, the following are excerpts from the Artesia Daily Press from March 12-18.

40 years ago
March 12-18, 1978

Paula Hale recently won the national Highpoint Youth Award of the Standard Quarter Horse Association and the Linda Pollard Memorial Award for high showmanship performance achievements during the past year. She is the daughter of Dorothy and Jerry Hale.

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Peggy Swafford has been named the City of Artesia’s Employee of the Week. She has been employed by the Artesia Public Library for nine years. She is the acquisition librarian and does most of the secretarial work. Swafford is a native of Artesia and lives with her parents southeast of the city.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Carl Lewis was getting ready to shear sheep the past week and his son, Donald Lewis from Artesia, was helping his father. Donald said he just left his real estate business for a few days.

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Seven members of the Artesia girls’ varsity basketball team were honored with trophy presentations at Monday’s 1978 basketball banquet. They are Kim Smith (Most Improved Player), Starla Ewan (Free Throw Award and Heart-Pride), Gina Gomez (Heart-Pride), Cheryl Heathington (Leadership Award and Heart-Pride), Maria Gomez (Best Hustler), Dana Lee (Best Hustler) and Jacklyn Cole (S.A.E. Award, Leading Rebounder and Most Valuable Player). The awards were presented by coach Ronnie Null.

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Five members of the Artesia varsity boys’ basketball team were honored at the basketball banquet. They are Dwayne Dickey (Outstanding Defensive Player), Bobby Snowden (Free Throw Award and Most Improved Player), David Navarette (Outstanding Rebounder Award, Pride Award and Co-Bulldog of the Year), Bubba Cunningham (Hustle Award) and Richie Price (S.A.E. Award and Co-Bulldog of the Year). The awards were presented by coach Rusty Heskett.

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Artesia’s top-seeded tennis player, Steve Messmer, played one of his typical matches with Lovington ace Richard Choate Tuesday, beating Choate 6-4, 6-4 to help his teammates to a 6-3 team win over the Wildcats. It avenged two losses to the same team last year, and Messmer later teamed with Randy Russel to win a doubles match.

30 years ago
March 12-18, 1988

It’s fast, at times it’s gritty, and at times there’s nothing ladylike about it. It’s high school girls’ fastpitch softball, and Artesia High School joins New Mexico’s Class 3A ranks this season. Girls’ softball now is a bona fide AHS spring sport after spending last year’s incubation period as a non-school affiliated program under the direction of coaches Mike Williams, Martin Green and Bill Hardt. Now, Hardt will send the team into a 22-game season that starts Saturday. “I think we’ll be competitive right off the bat,” he said. “We’ll still be lacking some experience, but most of the 23 players have ASA basics.”

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Three Artesia men have completed the 21-week state police training course, which ended in mid-February, and have been accepted as New Mexico State Police junior patrolmen. The three and their assignments are State Police Officer Richard K. Gegenheimer, 24, assigned to the Hobbs District; Timothy M. Harvey, 24, assigned to the Artesia District; and Michael W. Howard, 25, assigned to the Tinnie District.

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As reported in the Pinon News: Wednesday afternoon, a sudden snow storm hit. It moved in very fast and a number of persons were out. Mrs. Oza Holcomb took her sister, Mrs. Pearl Scott, to Cloudcroft to see Dr. Alan Breck. When they left there to return home, there was a dark cloud down James Canyon, so they returned by Cox Canyon, hoping they would miss the storm, but they had gone only a short distance when the snow moved in. It was snowing so heavily that the windshield wipers could not keep the snow off the windshield. Mrs. Holcomb had not driven in the snow but very little and she thought she could not but found out she could. They had not trouble getting home. Near the top of Denny Hill, the car slipped some, but went on to the top. Then there was no snow on the road and the falling snow was much lighter. A number of the ranchers had sheared sheep just before the snow storm, but there was no report of losses.

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Going to state tournaments does wonderful things toward creating interest in one’s program, doesn’t it? Artesia High School golf coach Steve Cranford sent his boys’ and girls’ squads to last year’s state tournament. That accomplishment resulted in a flurry of bodies out for golf this year, so Cranford and assistant coach Len Flaming have some wading to do. Cranford currently is looking at 22 boys and 16 girls, a total of 38, which, he concedes, is a “lotta kids.” Returning to bolster the team this season are Jud Hightower, Toby Byers, Jason Muncy, Clay Wilburn, Karyn Estrada, Kim Muncy, Melanie Barragan, Berna Alaniz, Bridgette Alaniz and Spencer Scott.

20 years ago
March 12-18, 1998

Of the many who visit the Public Health Office in Artesia, most will notice that something is missing. A familiar and helpful face is gone. After years of service to her community, Emma Acosta has retired from public health. “I really liked my job. I learned a lot. I can use some of my experience when I go on to other things,” said Acosta of the position she left on Friday. Acosta plans to become more involved with her church and its women’s group and to give her family the time they deserve. “I just want to spend more time with my family.”

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As reported in the Pinon News: Mrs. Oza Holcomb was quite ill the past week with a bronchial infection. She is much better ad hopes to soon be completely over it. Her daughter, Mrs. Dinnie Tosh of Belen, reported that Sunday so many of the members of the church of Christ were coughing with odd illnesses and were coughing until the members were having problems hearing the minister’s sermon.

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John Collins is the new mayor of Hope. He ousted former Mayor Pete Laumbach by a vote of 38-11 in the March 3 election. Elected to two at-large council seats were Allyson Young, 46 votes, and Wanda K. Fleming, 39 votes. Joyce Laumbach did not win a seat with 10 votes. For the two-year term council seat, Mary A. Kimmons was the winner with 35 votes. James L. Powell had 12 votes. Continuing on the council will be Charles W. Fletcher, whose seat was not up for re-election.

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The Bulldogs have only two varsity starters returning this year. First baseman Gabriel DeHoyos and catcher Cole Golden will each return to lead the young team through the season. There are a total of five players, including DeHoyos and Golden, who will be on the varsity team as previous lettermen. Greg Tutak, who plays shortstop and occasionally pitches, Jeff Letcher, pitcher and third baseman, and Caleb Sallee, second baseman, are the other three lettermen playing varsity this year.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back was compiled by Daily Press Community Living Editor Teresa Lemon.)